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The Ethics Of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government (Public Affairs and Policy Administration) Paperback – December 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1933116600 ISBN-10: 1933116609 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Public Affairs and Policy Administration
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: CQ Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933116609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933116600
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rosemary O'Leary is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration with additional appointments in political science and law, and Co-Director of the Program for the Analysis and Resolution of Conflict, at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Her areas of expertise include Public Management, Environmental Policy, Dispute Resolution, and Law.

O'Leary is the author or editor of six books and more than 85 articles on public management and public policy, and has won over fifteen research and teaching awards. From 2003 to 2005, O'Leary was a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Return to Flight Task Group assembled in response to the Columbia space shuttle accident. In 2004, she also served as a member of NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. O'Leary has worked as a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the International City/County Management Association.


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Customer Reviews

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Every manager who spends her or his time putting out fires should read this book.
Jeremy Hoyt
Although the title, The Ethics of Dissent, is lofty and grand, it is the subtitle, Managing Guerrilla Government, that best describes what the book is all about.
R. O'Leary
This book is a must read for all government managers or those interested in government affairs.
Richard Staats

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. O'Leary on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Review by H. George Frederickson, Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas, published in PA TIMES, February, 2006, page 11

Sixty-five years ago Herman Finer and Carl Friedrich framed one of the classic debates in public administration-Finer arguing that democracy is dependent on tight legalistic controls over bureaucracy, Friedrich countering that effective administration requires bureaucratic expertise and the discretion to apply that expertise. Over the years public administrators have inclined rather strongly in the direction of Friedrich's position, favoring granting a broad range of discretion to bureaucrats. These days the positions of Finer and Friedrich tend to be debated in terms of multiple forms of accountability: accountability to elected officials, the constitution and the laws, one's public service profession, the greater good, one's conscience-and public administrators still favor Friedrich's position believing they should have the discretion to make tough choices and to be held accountable for those choices.

This week a vivid description of the extremes of the long-standing debate over what ought to be the proper range of administrative discretion has reached my desk; Rosemary O'Leary's splendid new book The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government (Washington, D. C.: CQ Press, 2006). Although the title, The Ethics of Dissent, is lofty and grand, it is the subtitle, Managing Guerrilla Government, that best describes what the book is all about. Guerrilla government is O'Leary's term for "the actions of career public servants who work against the wishes-either implicitly or explicitly communicated-of their superiors.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ian Bron on September 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a Canadian whistleblower and dissent advocate, I found this an important book. Combined with my own experiences, it has shaped my views on how best to address mismanagement and malfeasance.

O'Leary presents case studies as a third way between silence and whistleblowing and describes guerrilla government as unauthorized action by employees to fight back against abuses and defend the public interest. This can include leaking information to the media or to special interest groups, surreptitiously disobeying direct orders and policy directions, and even suing the employer. Even whistleblowing is an option - though hardly the most important as the people in her book prefer to work quietly from the inside. O'Leary acknowledges the ethical issues with this approach, but encourages managers to embrace these dissenters and to harness their energy and ideas to make change.

It is a hopeful view, though one has to wonder whether government bureaucracies - which are stubbornly conservative, hierarchical and authoritarian - could ever make themselves swallow her advice. I also question whether courts are ever an effective remedy given the consistency of decisions against whistleblowers in both the U.S. and Canada. Those who want to dissent must do so carefully and intelligently, either taking great pains to ensure their own actions remain unknown or preparing the ground for a nasty, uneven fight. And they should expect no rewards or accolades (except in qui tam suits, of course), instead doing it because it is the right thing to do.

Ian Bron
Secretary
Canadians for Accountability
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A famous author once said that all books are either works of love or demons that drove their authors to write them. This book is clearly an act of love.

The topic is very timely. As America gears up for change, there will be some government personnel that are caught between their ideals of what they feel they should do and the demands of what their job and their chain of command require them to do.

The book does a great job at laying out the big picture on what is guerilla government and then following up on how to handle both sides of it, i.e., being a guerilla or managing guerilla employees.

Table 5.2, the characteristics of a guerilla in the government ranks, is worth the price of the book alone.

This book is a must read for all government managers or those interested in government affairs.

In service,

Rich
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Sunderland on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually sell my textbooks back to buy others, but this book was captivating and had excellent chapters on whistle-blowing and how to ethically deal with conflict on every scale. A great book addition for any social science.
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